Some thoughts and links on voting

The New York Times magazine has an opinion article by Clive Thompson arguing for the use of Open Source software in e-voting systems. While it's nice to see the idea get some mainstream coverage (after I've been banging on about it since 1999) Open Source alone is not enough. I've got an article on this appearing in Communications of the ACM soon so I'll hold my fire. But in summary, source-availability does not alter the unique difficulties in providing secure and anonymous ballots. (UPDATE:VoteHere's Jim Adler has blogged on the NY Times article but seems to think that merely publishing the source of a voting system makes it Open Source)

On another note, TV viewers in the UK may have seen the wonderful adverts by the Electoral Commission promoting the June 10th elections. With the slogan “If you don't do politics, there's not much you do do” the adverts use a great animated style to highlight how so much of life, if not everything, is influenced by politics in one way or another. Unfortunately the website the adverts point viewers to, aboutmyvote.co.uk is truly disappointing. It looks rushed, poorly thought out and ugly. I'm always a bit cautious about single-use sites as they tend to get limited investment as everyone knows they've got a limited shelf-life. It would have been better to link to the half-decent main Electoral Commission website.

That said the Votes are Power site the Commission put together for their youth voting campaign (which had some not bad cinema ads) is pretty good. Still why can't visitors just knock their post code in to be told about elections & candidates in their area? Stick your email in and get reminders on upcoming elections for life. Simple, but I can't see anyone doing it.